Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, is a lesser known health condition involving a large spectrum of problems including dysfunction at the joint where the mandible “lower jaw” attaches to the rest of the skull.
It is more common in women, however some experts estimate that up to a million people in the US suffer from TMJ to some degree.
A condition that is closely associated with TMJ is Bruxism, or “teeth grinding.”
Teeth grinding is a problem that is more common than ever, and is mostly caused by stress. It is important to be aware of this habit, because teeth grinding can become part of a persons muscle memory where they don’t even realize they are doing it
TMJ is a condition that is often diagnosed by a dentist.
Symptoms for TMJ include headaches, tender muscles, or clinching or popping jaw noises.
Another possible cause of TMJ is a traumatic injury from a car accident or other physical injury.
There are many factors that you want to consider before you take a course of action for treatment of your TMJ. I advise people to consider other options before surgery — though in some cases of TMJ surgery may be your best option.
In mild to moderate TMJ ultra sound, heat/ice, and natural anti-inflammatory supplements can all help reduce the pain.
In addition to these therapies massage can improve TMJ by working directly on the joint. Massage can help relax/soften all the muscles of mastication, that may also be effected by TMJ.
With stress on the rise it is important to be conscious of teeth grinding.
Five or ten minutes of deep breathing/meditation can work wonders for your stress management, and ultimately your TMJ.